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Family values are more than just being together
Pastor's corner
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In the times that we live in, people have become so busy with the everyday affairs that it is easy for the family as a unit to suffer.
Even the things people do as a family or for their families are time and labor intensive, leaving little room for true communication. Involvement in sports and in different school events have great value and they are important. However, because of the other things of life, which seem to consume the majority of people's time, these activities become for many, the replacement for family time.
I have heard many define these activities as their family time. This can create a hidden problem that goes unnoticed. If your family time is always surrounded by specific activities, it can limit communication within the family unit.
There were many activities that my family engaged in when I was growing up. Even then, it was easy to become wrapped up in the details of the activity and not take time to build our relations in other areas. My parents placed great importance on family communication, apart from family activity. They set aside time for communication. This was when we really were able to relate with one another. It was also their means to impart the values so important to life.
Many activities do teach great and valuable lessons. Still, the value of being a family, having the kind of relationship where you know that you can count on others and be counted on for the success of your lives, is something that is missing in today's society.
I often talk with people about their family values. They often list them as; integrity, sincerity, honesty, determination, etc. I seldom find someone who lists "being a family" as a family value. It is the greatest family value. Being a family is one of the greatest advantages to a fulfilled life. It is one of the greatest values to a legacy.
People used to define America's values and strength as "mom and apple pie." Even now, the most rerun sitcoms are the ones that depict true family relationships. They take us back to places like Mayberry and simpler times. The book of Proverbs and the book of Ephesians offer great instruction about the role that family relations play in creating true family values.
Perhaps we cannot return to simpler times. However, this nation's citizens have proven that they can and will obtain anything that is truly important to them. People who cannot find money to provide for everyday living still manage to afford the big television, video game system or tricked-out vehicle. They will work overtime to cover credit card bills, and still buy high-end name brand clothing and shoes. I am not knocking having such things. I only mention them as evidence that in this country, anything that is desired with passion can be and will be obtained. The reason that there is little or no time for "being a family" is that the desire of people is pointed in another direction. If you desire to strengthen the family relationship, if you desire to increase the level of communication, it is not difficult to obtain. You simply have to place a priority on it.
Returning to a family table, turning off the television, having a night where you take time to communicate about each other's lives, these are all steps to build your family relationships. And, they are cheaper than therapy!

Byler is the pastor of Bethesda Church in Hinesville.
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